Time for a lesson you won’t want to sleep through! Ever heard of your ‘Venus Week’ (didn’t think so)… it’s the secret to why you look grrrreat and feel awesome at specific times-of-the-month (now you’re listening)! The science behind {VENeffect’s} innovations (these products are totally mind-blowing), sister co-founders Rebecca and Cecil – a leading gynaecologist and a beauty industry veteran respectively – talked us through why oestrogen is so skin-beneficial.

A skin care line-up that’s unlike any other, these cutting-edge products boast plant-derived oestrogens to mimic your cycle's amazing effects (oestrogen is the reason for those 'I look good' double-takes). Essential for collagen synthesis, this stellar edit supports its creation to postpone decline as your hormones plateau, meaning supple, ‘elastic’ and radiant skin for far longer.  

Now, we'll hand over to experts Rebecca and Cecil, who'll demystify the mystery...

{Rebecca and Cecil} "Have you ever noticed a grouping of days where you skin appears clearer and vibrant, your energy is stronger, you seem to have the gift of conversation and your jeans even fit better? This is what we – the co-founders of {VENeffect} – have called the 'Venus Week', when everything aligns to make us look and feel our best. It’s no surprise that this 'alignment' coincides with the week leading up to ovulation – it's Mother Nature’s intent that we are in the perfect frame of mind and body to make a connection.

"The first step to discovering the beauty of your cycle and how to live better throughout the month and as we age as women, is to truly understand what is happening throughout each month and how what's happening inside can manifest externally – your hormones play havoc with skin (but we can help to offset their impact)."

{Cult Beauty} How do fluctuations in hormones throughout the month affect skin?

{Rebecca & Cecil} "Each day of the menstrual cycle is a reflection of different levels of 'the big three' hormones: oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Not only are we designed to have these levels fluctuate, but their relationship varies each day as well, influencing how we look and feel. The key is to understand why they fluctuate and what we can do to take charge of these variations.

Days 1-7: Menstruation; the 'reset' of the cycle

"Cycle Day 1 is the first day of the period and the three major female hormones (oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, what we call 'the big three') are all low on this day, but oestrogen and testosterone slowly begin to rise around Cycle Day 3. Skin is not at its peak at this time due to low oestrogen meaning less stimulation of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid – that dewy elixir that gives skin it's 'bounce'.

Days 8-15: 'The Venus Week'

"Oestrogen and testosterone are climbing together toward a perfect crescendo just prior to ovulation. This grouping of days we call 'The Venus Week', as the hormonal cocktail encourages confidence (and inspires romance). The dynamic duo of the power hormones: oestrogen and testosterone increases positive thinking, as well as confidence and desire. This is further enhanced by an increase in dopamine and endorphins to stimulate mood and energy. Verbal acuity is boosted, metabolism is more efficient and skin is glowing.

Days 16-28: Progesterone dominance; the 'Minerva' phase

"Just after ovulation, oestrogen and testosterone take a dip as progesterone, the hormone Mother Nature sends out to protect the assumed pregnancy takes charge. Progesterone’s job is to encourage rest and eating, hence energy goes down and appetite goes up! The mood can be a little more inwardly directed, and as metabolism slows, the cravings can cause bloating, a tendency to gain weight, and breast tenderness.

"As the cycle progresses even progesterone begins to fall, and your mood takes a slump in response to 'the big three' collectively ebbing. Since these hormones support feel-good brain chemicals, the sudden drop causes dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin to all fall as well.

"To help balance the natural 'dance' of the big three hormones, we recommend increasing plant protein in the diet, such as nuts and seeds, exercising 20-30 minutes daily, and skin care with phytoestrogens to balance skin and improve luminosity and elasticity. {VENeffect} is our brand name for the 'Venus Effect' to emulate that great glow we get during the 'Venus Week' – throughout the month and as we age."

{CB} What are phytoestrogens and are they safe?

{R&C} "Plant oestrogens, known as phytoestrogens, offer a safe, natural solution to the challenge of declining oestrogen for women, a phenomenon now referred to as 'hormonal ageing'. Phytoestrogens are small molecules similar to oestrogen, but are derived from the reproductive parts of many plants, such as the seeds of grapes, soybeans, red clover, flaxseed and several nuts and berries. While it has long been known that these nutraceutical foods are good for overall health, there is scientific evidence that many types of phytoestrogens, applied topically, offer multiple amazing benefits in the fight against ageing skin.

"The benefits of phytoestrogens are infinite. Their small molecular size means they're readily absorbed, where they set to work boosting the manufacture of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid which in turn, improves 'bounce' and delays signs of sagging. Calming and powerfully antioxidant, they neutralise the DNA-damaging impact of free radicals while improving skin's tone and diminishing dark spots and scars. They're also super safe and effective on all ages and skin types."

{CB} What are some of the more surprising ways that skin reacts to hormonal variation besides blemish and wrinkles?

{R&C} "Changes in hormones within the month and as women age create a number of challenges beyond fine lines, wrinkles and blemishes. Everything from uneven skin tone (melasma or hyperpigmentation), enlarged pores, loss of elasticity, thinning of the skin and even unwanted hair (oestrogen has a positive effect on hair where you want it and suppresses hair where you don’t, thus lower levels can lead to unwelcome chin bristles) can be attributed to hormone fluctuations (joy). Also, diminished bone density as we grow older can lead to changes in the skin’s appearance – especially in the ocular area and around the jawline.

"While moisturisation will help with dryness, more advanced technology is needed to address pore minimisation, elasticity and uneven skin tone. Many anti-ageing technologies operate by exfoliation using retinoids, lactic or glycolic acids, etc., which can further thin the skin, but phytoestrogens support cells' natural manufacture of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid to extend the youthful 'bounce factor'."

{CB} How does hormonal variation result in blemishes and acne?

{R&C} "Testosterone increases both pore size and sebum production. Oestrogen keeps testosterone in check during the fertile days of the cycle, but when oestrogen falls the week before the period, testosterone takes its advantage (hiss) – setting the scene for breakouts. Another hormone that aggravates acne is insulin. Insulin acts like a growth hormone – 'egging on' (excuse the pun!) the ovaries' testosterone-producing cells. When these cells are overloaded by insulin, as with a high-carbohydrate lifestyle, the result is an imbalance that aggravates acne, as well as unwanted facial hair and facial ruddiness. 

"Oestrogen-based birth control pills help to suppress acne because the oestrogen reduces pore size and suppresses excess testosterone. However, if one’s diet is sugar laden, even 'the pill' will not work for breakouts.

"A good approach is to reduce sugar and simple carbohydrates and instead, consume more plant protein. Phytoestrogens found in plants – such as the aforementioned flax seeds, almonds and chickpeas – will help with metabolism and reduce insulin surges. For skin, applied topically, phytoestrogens help with increased collagen production and can reduce the appearance of pores. Using skin care products designed for hormonal balance will also help. Our {VENeffect} {Pore Minimizing Cleanser}, for example, has willow bark to combat blackheads while the phytoestrogens (including soy and pomegranate) really help with cell renewal."

WOW! Thanks so much to Rebecca and Cecil! Our brains have expanded a million-fold and our feminine world now makes much greater sense!  

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